On Monday June 7, cast members of the Broadway hit Fela! were in the mix at Brooklyn Bowl for the official Fela! On Broadway Original Cast Recording Release Party presented by the Knitting Factory. The two individuals who have taken on the huge responsibility of bringing Fela Anikulapo-Kuti to life in the play, Tony Award Nominated Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo were front and center greeting and mingling with guests. Cast members Iris Wilson and Tony Award Nominated Lillias White also joined in the festivities early on saying hello to everyone and posing for pictures.
When the time was right, Sahr Ngaujah grabbed the mic and addressed the crowd with the familiar line, “Everybody say yeah, yeah!” To make sure the success of the Fela! movement continues, Baba Olajagun hit the stage to bless the evening. This was important because Baba also blessed the off Broadway venue where Fela! initally ran. Then Baba blessed the Broadway venue where Fela! is running. So if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!
After the blessing, with the help of Ancestral Rhythms’ Kunle Ade and Don druming, Kevin Mambo and Blaz & the 88Sound performed. Towards the end of their Funk-laced, Afrobeat body moving set, Kevin went into Fela tune- Shuffering and Smiling. Cast members joined in singing and dancing on stage being led by Lillas White. The icing on the cake was a special guest appearance by drumming sensation Nikki Glaspie (who went on tour with Beyonce). Nikki hopped on stage out of the audience and sat behind the drums already set up. Unbeknowst to Nikki, there were no stix around the set. No Problem! Nikki got busy with just her hands. However, it wasn’t long before two sticks flew in the air to Nikki from the crowd. There was a loud applause and Nikki got busy-true musical improvisation!
At somepoint this tremendous collboration brought things back to earth. Just in time for ?uestlove of the Legendary Roots Crew to hit the DJ Booth to keep the vibes flowings.
For more informaiton about the CD and the play log on to http://www.felaonbroadway.com/.
To see more pictures check out the HWMag Gallery.